The Distinguished Soldier – Brig (rtd) Furdoon Mehta
“It’s dad’s 100th birthday this year,” erstwhile entertainment tycoon, philanthropist and now impassioned philosophy student Zarina Mehta had texted, adding, “Would love for you to come celebrate it this Sunday, at lunch.” The effervescent Mehta, who along with husband – movie producer and entertainment mogul Ronnie Screwvala – had been responsible for some of the country’s biggest TV and movie hits, was referring to her father, Brigadier Furdoon Mehta, who had distinguished himself during the Second World War when he’d risked his life flying above enemy lines to pinpoint targets. Now long retired, the dapper handlebar moustachioed, ram rod straight dead ringer for Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, lives along with his elegant nonagenarian wife Villie in an apartment in SoBo, not too far from his daughter, and is the centre of their attention and love. The centenary birthday celebration was full of affection and admiration for the patriarch, and saw the presence of a large circle of his family and friends, including Dr Faroukh Udwadia with wife Vera, Nadir and Rati Godrej, Pheroza Godrej, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Ishan and Anjali Raina, AD and Sabena Singh, and Ricky and Laila Lamba amongst others.
How does one wish a distinguished and much decorated soldier on his 100th birthday? The hosts had forbidden gifts, but Pheroza Godrej appeared to have gotten around it with an ingenious solution. She’d sent a glorious arrangement of exactly one hundred flowers for the birthday ‘boy’.